In My Mailbox: Week of October 31st
Title: Skipping A Beat
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Received: From Sarah Pekkanen
Synopsis: Sarah Pekkanen’s poignant second novel about marriage, forgiveness, and the things that really matter, which will have readers laughing and crying.
Title: Welcome to My World
Author: Miranda Dickinson
Received: From Charlotte Allen @ Avon Publicity
Synopsis: A travel agent who longs to travel. An intrepid explorer who just wants to find a place to call home. And a Big Idea that changes everything!. When Harri Langton finds herself locked in the Ladies’ loo at Stone Langley Village Hall, she has plenty of time to muse on the events leading up to officially The Worst Night of Her Life! Harri is a travel agent with a shameful secret. Despite possessing extensive knowledge of places around the globe, she’s never set foot outside the UK. Few of Harri’s friends understand her longing to see the world – least of all her boyfriend Rob who still hasn’t proposed after seven years of waiting. But when Alex Brannan arrives in town, Harri finds a kindred spirit. A globe-trotting traveller for the past ten years, Alex’s stories light up Harri’s world, and in return she becomes his confidante, sharing the highs and lows of his awful love life. But everything changes when Alex’s aunt suggests her Big Idea – offering Alex up on a plate to the female readership of It’s My Life magazine. How will Alex feel about being sold off as a prize bull? Will Rob ever step up and propose? And will Harri’s dreams of exploration ever become a reality? An enthralling tale for fans of Harriet Evans and Richard Curtis films from a dazzling star in women’s fiction.
Title: Life After Yes
Author: Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Received: From SheKnows Book Club
Synopsis: This is the story of Quinn—born Prudence Quinn O’Malley—a confused young Manhattan attorney who loses her father on that tragic September morning that changed everything. Now, at an existential crossroads in her life, Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney . . . and far too many grooms. Suddenly, her future isn’t so clear. Quinn’s world has become a minefield of men—some living, some gone, and traversing it safely is going to take a lot more than numerous glasses of pinot grigio.
Life After Yes is a blisteringly honest, thoroughly modern tale of life and love in chaos, marking the arrival of a truly exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.
Q: When did you realize you were first interested in writing?
I’ve always loved writing since I was a kid. I used to be scribbling stories down all the time. But when I left school I was too busy trying to get a job, we didn’t have any guidance about pursuing writing as an actual career. And then later, I was too busy trying to pay the mortgage to actually have the time and opportunity to pursue writing as a career. But a few years ago I moved from the UK to North Cyprus, and that’s when I finally had the chance to seriously devote to my passion.
Q: How would you describe your first novel, Fourteen Days Later, in 20 words or less?
A fun-packed romantic comedy that proves anything is possible if you take a chance.
Q: I read that your second novel, The Fashion Police, is the first in a series with the character Amber Fox. When you first thought of the idea for The Fashion Police, did you know right away you wanted it to be a series?
Yes, I wanted to write a comedy mystery series so that readers can get invested in the characters and see how they grow with each novel.
Q: What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
Plotting. I hate it! Give me a character to make up or dialogue to write and I’m loving it, but plotting is my pet hate. Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil. No plot means no story.
Q: What are you currently reading?
Take the Monkeys and Run – a cozy mystery by Karen Cantwell.
Q: What are your thoughts on e-books? How about self-publishing for writers?
It’s funny, because if someone had said thirty years ago that people would be reading their books on a little hand held computer that could hold thousands of books, they would have carted you off to the funny farm! But I think e-books are the future of publishing. They are hugely popular in the US now and they’ve change how people read. Alot of owners of e-readers say they read more than ever now because of the ease and availability of it.
The e-book revolution has really enabled some fantastic writers to indie publish, whereas with traditional publishing they wouldn’t have had a chance. There are some indie authors out there becoming very successful – look at JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking, for example. But with traditional publishing, a book could be fantastically written, have a great plot and characters, but wouldn’t be accepted by a major publisher unless it was going to be a bestseller. And that’s been compounded by the current global recession. So self-publishing gives authors that chance to get their work out there, and readers now have more choice than ever. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Q: You are not only a writer, but a fitness trainer, massage therapist, and you freelance write on health and fitness. First off, where do you find the time for it all?
That’s the hard bit. I wish there was more time in the day. Especially now with the expanse of social media as well - Facebook, Twitter, blogs – it’s hard cramming everything in. Really you should try and avoid spreading yourself too thin and concentrate on good quality blogging and writing rather than quantity.
Q: Why is health and fitness so important to you?
I suffer from fybromyalgia, so for me exercise is essential to keep the condition under some sort of control and help with the pain.
Q: What would be your best advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing! Being a writer isn’t easy, but with the growing e-book industry, it’s now much easier for new writers. Querying traditional agents and publishers takes up a lot of time, and you have to be prepared for a lot of rejections – even JK Rowling received rejections in her time – so you need to have a thick skin. When you think you’re work is ready for the public, I would recommend getting it critiqued by other authors or literary consultants so it’s in tip-top shape. And don’t forget to read. Being an author is as much about reading as it is about writing.
Q: Where would be your dream vacation?
Ooh, that’s a hard one! At the moment, I’d love a relxing beach holiday somewhere in the carribean. But I’d love to go and travel round Australia one day. Maybe if I ever hit the bestseller list!
Abbie Jennings loves her job as Manhattan’s top food critic- until her identity is revealed and her unflattering picture with ever-expanding waistline is splashed across the newspapers. She becomes the joke of the town as the overweight food lover, and promptly loses her job at the New York Post since she can no longer go incognito to restaurants. Abbie takes this opportunity to finally go on that diet and shed some pounds, but struggles with motivation and the reasoning behind her relationship with food. To add to Abbie’s problems, she is going through a difficult time with her husband, who is trying to persuade her to leave the city and finally start a family. It takes the guidance of an unusual friend to finally help Abbie see what she really wants out of life.
Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner is a good story. I didn’t get real invested in the main character, and some off the story lines seemed just a bit off for me. I did like the plot, and the descriptions of some of the delectable dishes made me start eating while reading, but it just wasn’t enough. Sometimes, Abbie’s character came off as incredibly selfish, never really listening to her husband and continually doing things the way she wanted. There is also a best friend in the story, who I never could quite figure out what she was doing there. She popped up at random times, and during most of the meat of the story, she wasn’t mentioned at all, only to return once again at the end. I found myself confused throughout the duration, as the writing was a bit all over the place and jumping from scene to scene without any real fluidity. Like I said earlier, I did like the story, I thought it was interesting though not necessarily unique, and I believe some good life lessons can be taken away from the main character’s troubles. Slim to None won’t be on my Favorites List, but I think some other chick lit lovers will be able to appreciate this story.
Ah, the latest worst kept secret in Hollywood is revealed: Mariah Carey is with child. The singer, 41, and husband Nick Cannon, 30, announced the baby news on Thursday morning as part of a sneak peek three-part Access Hollywood interview. Carey said, “Yes, we are pregnant. This is true. It’s been a long journey. It’s been tough because I’ve been trying to hold on to a shred of privacy.” Cannon called the pregnancy “absolutely emotional.” The couple also revealed in the interview that she suffered a miscarriage two years ago. Carey wouldn’t give a due date, but did say the baby would be born in the spring. The gender was not announced.
Photo Credit: Marion Curtis/StarTraks
Lucy is shocked when her husband of 16 years, Trent, announces he is leaving her. She knows that their relationship hasn’t been the best for a few years, but with careers and their fifteen-year old daughter Sam entering the teenage angst years, she never thought she would actually be heading for a divorce. Trent is tired of his boring marriage and wants his freedom- and the ability to get one his co-workers into bed. Trent has been eyeing the voluptuous Annika while on the job, but she wouldn’t give him the time of day unless he was separated from his wife. Finally on his own, Trent gets his singledom and Annika- but suddenly wonders if that is the life he truly wants. Lucy tries to pick up the pieces of her broken marriage, but when her job throws her together with a teen heartthrob actor (also her daughter’s biggest crush) Lucy’s life begins to spiral downwards.
Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis by Robyn Harding is heartfelt novel that draws readers into the lives of the characters by giving both Lucy and Trent a voice. The chapters are written in alternating point of views from both husband and wife, giving us a chance to really understand both sides and why this marriage failed. Deep emotions are revealed, self-doubt and guilt among others, and be prepared for this story to really make you think and feel for all the characters, not just Lucy and Trent. I really appreciated the ending of the novel as well, which is a rarity for me. I am usually left feeling unsatisfied in these types of relationship conflict stories, or feeling that the ending is too cliché, but I thought Harding did a fantastic job at tying all the loose ends together and giving the characters the ending they deserved. A definite recommendation from me!
Author Name: Maria Romana
Bio: Maria Romana began her writing career in the third grade, when a thoughtful teacher sent home a note on the back of her report card suggesting that she should pursue fiction writing, because her imaginative stories and skill in expressing them made it the only logical choice. Maria took the teacher’s words to heart and kept the dream alive, even while pursuing a B.S. in mathematics and an MBA, which led to twenty years of writing as a research statistician in academia, medicine, and consumer marketing–not exactly what her teacher had in mind perhaps, but often every bit as imaginative.
At the age of 40-something, Maria finally published her first novel, “Little Miss Straight Lace”. The book is a complex tale of mystery and romance set in the Research Triangle Park region of NC, where much of Maria’s career was spent. The story is loosely based on her experiences in pharmaceutical research there.
Titles: Little Miss Straight Lace
Bio Retrieved from www.smashwords/mariaromana.com
Q: When did you decide to get serious about writing?
I’ve always been serious in the sense that I’ve always been dedicated to writing the best book I can — even when I was eleven and climbed a tree with pad and pen! I entered college as a music major but graduated with a degree in journalism. After college, I freelanced and kept writing fiction. I finished a manuscript and finally got up the courage to submit a query letter to a New York literary agent. That was a big step! She took me on, and now here I am.
Q: You have over fifty novels published! Where does the inspiration for your stories keep coming from?
I’ve asked myself this, too, and I think coming up with new stories is a natural, intuitive process for me. I don’t have to hunt up ideas so that I can write. I write because I have ideas! For example, I was on vacation in Ireland a few years ago. No writing! But we visited a stone ruin and an ancient stone circle…and next thing I knew, I had a stories and characters percolating that eventually became THE ANGEL, THE MIST and THE WHISPER.
Q: Can you describe your latest novel, Cold Dawn, in twenty words or less?
Okay, let me give this a shot: A search-and-rescue expert and a smokejumper go after a deadly serial arsonist who strikes the small Vermont town of Black Falls. How’s that?
Q: Do you have a certain writing schedule you stick to?
Yes and no. I write most days and work hard, but I’m not regimented. I don’t write X number of pages a day or work X number of hours. What I get done and how long it takes depends on where I am in the book. At the beginning of a book, I tend to work more in fits and starts. I need little breaks for the story to meander and then settle. Toward the end of a book, I’ll write for longer periods at a stretch.
Q: What are you currently reading?
I just re-read the last 100 pages of MJ Rose’s THE HYPNOTIST. Fascinating book!
Q: What are your thoughts on the rise of technology for the writing industry- e-readers and self-publishing?
It’ll be what it’ll be. I love to write and I love to read, and that’s not going to change.
Q: When writing, do you often start from Chapter 1, or do you work backwards, or start somewhere in the middle?
Chapter 1, but I’ll jot down scenes or snippets of scenes that occur to me as I write. Sometimes I’ll start in on Chapter 1 with no synopsis, just to get a feel for the story; other times I’ll have a brief synopsis before I start.
Q: Are you currently working on a project?
Yes, I am. I’m deep into my latest work-in-progress. It’s a brand-new world, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!
Q: You have been to some amazing locations around the world. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
My husband and I adore the southwest Irish coast. We stay in the pretty village of Kenmare and wander the hills of the Iveragh and Beara peninsulas. Stunning scenery, great food, wonderful people. Just love it there!
Q: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you’re driven and love to write, but don’t postpone happiness until you achieve a certain goal. Be happy now! It’s too easy to say to yourself, “I’ll be happy when I finish a book.” Then it’ll be, “I’ll be happy when I’ve sold a book.” Then…”I’ll be happy when I make the bestseller lists.” Then…see how it works? It’s corrosive. Focus on writing the best book you can and living your life. Easier said than done some days, but,, FWIW, that’s my advice.
In My Mailbox: Week of October 24th
Title: Until the End of Forever
Author: Shannon Hart
Received: From Shannon Hart
Synopsis: When Sarah Matthews keeps having recurring nightmares she begins to psycho-analyse herself in an attempt to find the reason behind them. After all, she has a perfect marriage; two beautiful children; a part-share in a little business; and everything in the world she could possibly wish for. She is totally content…or is she? Could her life be just a little too perfect? Over a friendly luncheon, Sarah suddenly has stirrings of envy for the total freedom she can no longer enjoy; and when the opportunity is offered her to go to Paris for a month to work with a photographer on the production of a series of Coffee Table books, she decides to go off and find herself. However, in the wake of tragedy she is called back home again, only to find upon her return that the relationship between her and her husband rapidly begins to deteriorate. Very much aimed at the feminine reader, this is a lovely story, and one to which very few will be unable to relate.
Title: Fourteen Days Later
Author: Sibel Hodge
Received: From Sibel Hodge
Synopsis: When Helen Grey is set a fourteen day life-changing challenge the last thing she expects is to be pushed closer to her best friend’s brother, Kalem. But how can he fall for her when he’s too busy falling prey to her mishaps and too in love with his own perfect girlfriend? How will Kalem’s Turkish Cypriot family react when they find out? Is it really possible to change your life in fourteen days?
Title: Hollywood Ending
Author: Lucie Simone
Received: From Lucie Simone
Synopsis: Trina Stewart needs cash. Fast. She’s barely got enough dough to keep her fanny off the streets, let alone any spending money for hot nights clubbing on Sunset Strip. And her job teaching English as a Second Language is seriously lacking in both pay and glamour. But not just any job will do. She’s after a real Hollywood job. The kind that makes her $100,000 in film school debt and ten years in Tinsel Town not seem like such a big fat waste of time and money. But a girl can’t fritter away all her time fretting over her next paycheck, can she? Certainly not when a man like Matiu Wulf, a sexy Maori from New Zealand, parks his oh-so-fine self in the apartment above hers while he takes his best shot at Showbiz.
If only Matiu didn’t seem so… repelled by Trina. Really, though, it’s Los Angeles that Matiu finds so revolting. He’s only in L.A. to get some scene design experience to beef up his resume, and then he’s headed back to New Zealand to follow his dreams in peace, thank you very much. That’s his plan, anyway, until he falls hard for Trina…and Trina falls under the spell of a toothy-grinned wannabe actor who charms the pants right off her.
With Matiu on a mission to win Trina’s heart, and Trina on a mission to nail down that ever elusive Hollywood job, these two soon discover that when love gets tossed in the mix, life in Tinsel Town isn’t all red carpets, after parties, and celebrity gossip. In fact, Hollywood can be a downright bitch!
Katy Perry is a married lady. Perry, 25, and Russell Brand, 35 exchanged vows in front of 80 or so guests at the luxury Aman-i-Khas resort near the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan (Brand proposed at the same location in December). Usmagazine reports it was a traditional Indian ceremony, and the bride wore a dove gray Elie Saab haute couture dress with lace sleeves. A rep for the couple releases this statement regarding the nuptials, “Russell Brand and Katy Perry are overjoyed to confirm that they were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Brand on Saturday, October 23. The very private and spiritual ceremony, attended by the couples’ closest family and friends was performed by a Christian minister and longtime friend of the Hudson Family. The backdrop was the inspirational and majestic countryside of Northern India.”
Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Celine Dion gave birth to twin boys on Saturday at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., at 11:11 a.m. and 11:12 a.m., People.com reported. One of the babies weighed in at 5 lbs., 4 oz., with the other at 5 lbs., 10 oz. The singer’s rep confirms the twins are healthy, but will be spending the next few days in an incubator because they were born premature. Dion, 42, underwent a C-section.
Photo Credit: Lily Palmberger/Celebrity Photo